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Wednesday, February 25, 1998 Published at 11:54 GMT


Fina toughens anti-doping rules
image: [ An official outside the doping centre at the Fina meet in Beijing. ]
An official outside the doping centre at the Fina meet in Beijing.

The world swimming body Fina intends to strengthen its anti-doping rules.

A special congress is set to be held in March to look into its policy on the issue, and is likely to result in tougher doping control measures.

Announcing the meeting during a World Cup swimming competition in Beijing, Fina Press Commission chairman Camillo Cametti said it will follow on from Fina's task force meeting in Switzerland on March 5 and 6.

China, which is hosting the latest leg of the Fina competition, has been the target of new doping allegations in recent weeks.

[ image: Drug testing has become a big issue at the Beijing competition.]
Drug testing has become a big issue at the Beijing competition.
Four Chinese swimmers were found to have taken the illegal diuretic Triamterene, which medical experts say is a masking agent for anabolic steroids, in the world championships in Perth in January.

The failed tests followed the disqualification of breaststroker Yuan Yuan after customs officials found 13 vials of human growth hormone in her bags at Sydney airport.

Some 27 Chinese swimmers have tested positive for drugs in the last decade.

The Chinese news agency Xinhua said the anti-doping meeting would "seek to enhance doping control measures all over the world."

FINA reportedly wants to increase the penalty for using drugs to mask steroid use from the current maximum of two years to a minimum four-year ban.

That would bring it into line with bans for the use of harder drugs.

Delegates from nation swimming federations under Fina will attend the congress with each federation getting one vote.


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